The subject of leadership raises many questions: What is it? How does it differ from management and command? Are leaders born or bred? Who are the leaders? Do we actually need leaders?
Inevitably, the answers are provocative and partial; leadership is a hugely important topic of debate. There are constant calls for 'greater' or 'stronger' leadership, but what this actually means, how we can evaluate it, and why it's important are not very clear.
In this Very Short Introduction Keith Grint prompts the reader to rethink their understanding of what leadership is. He examines the way leadership has evolved from its earliest manifestations in ancient societies, highlighting the beginnings of leadership writings through Plato, Sun Tzu, Machiavelli and others, to consider the role of the social, economic, and political context undermining particular modes of leadership.
Exploring the idea that leaders cannot exist without followers, and recognising that we all have diverse experiences and assumptions of leadership, Grint looks at the practice of management, its history, future, and influence on all aspects of society.
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Keith Grint is Professor of Public Leadership at Warwick University. Previously he was Professor of Defence Leadership at Cranfield University. He spent 10 years in industry before switching to an academic career. He is a founding co-editor of the journal Leadership (Sage) and founding co-organizer of the International Conference in Leadership Research. He remains a visiting Research Professor at Lancaster University, a Fellow of the Windsor Leadership Trust, an Associate Fellow of the Said Business School and Green Templeton College, Oxford University, and a Fellow of the Sunningdale Institute, a research arm of the UK's National School of Government.
1. What is leadership? ; 2. What isn't leadership? ; 3. What was leadership? ; 4. Leaders: born or bred? ; 5. Who are the leaders? ; 6. How do leaders lead? ; 7. What about the followers? ; 8. Do we need leaders? ; References ; Further Reading